The bagel’s recipe is inspired by “The Sophisticated Gourmet”
I love bread – all kinds of bread! Yes, yes my favorite thing on the planet.
I am a breakfast person and breakfast means, bread and tea – it is my most enjoyable meal and I can’t understand how some people skip it.
I grew up eating labneh, zaatar and olives accompanied with Arabic bread or French baguette – a staple breakfast in almost all Lebanese homes.
Bagels too are one of the breads that I like and since I cannot get my hands on bagels in Kinshasa, I thought of baking them at home, so note that this is my first attempt to make them. Thanks to the “Sophisticated Gourmet” for such a great recipe. I followed their ingredients except that I fermented the dough in the fridge overnight and added honey to the steaming water. The recipe is so easy to put together, yet it requires some time. I love the steaming technique in making bagels.
Bagels are so versatile and can go with anything. I sprinkled mine with zaatar and stuffed them with labné and olives to customize them to my Lebanese taste buds, and really enjoyed every bit of these freshly baked treats – though my youngest son insisted that the piping hot bagels go best with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers and for a more indulging bagel, toast it and drench it with butter and salt! How delicious!
- 31/2 cups bread flour
- 11/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 11/4 cups or a bit more lukewarm water
- 11/2 teaspoons salt
- 11/2 tablespoons honey, for the boiling water
FOR THE STUFFING: LABNEH
- In a large ceramic bowl, place the flour, sugar, active dry yeast and salt. Mix well.
- Add the lukewarm water gradually, stirring with your hands until you have a smooth dough.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and set aside for 2 hours to double in bulk.
- Turn the dough onto a floured surface and punch the dough into 8 equal balls.
- Take each ball of the dough and poke a 4 cm / 1.5 inch hole through the center with your thumb.
- Transfer the bagels on a large sheet coated with flour. Cover with a kitchen towel and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 7 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C /425°F.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the honey and poach 3 bagels at a time for 40 seconds on each side.
- Remove with a slotted spoon and place them on a sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.
- Delicately transfer the bagels to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of the bagels with zaatar.
- Bake in the preheated oven, for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and when easy to handle cut the bagels with a knife and stuff with labneh and black olives or simply with your favorite stuffing! Enjoy!
Zaatar: A blend that is incredibly versatile in its utility. Standard ingredients include thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and oregano. You can find zaatar at Middle Eastern grocery stores.
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